African-American Voices in Children's Fiction

Compiled by Arrowhead Library System


Amazing Grace
by Mary Hoffman. Grace proves she can be the best Peter Pan in spite of classmates telling her she can't because she's female and black. Dial. 1991.

Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard. Susan and Sarah visit their great-great Aunt Flossie to try on her wonderful hats, eat crab cakes for dinner and hear stories of her life. Clarion. 1991.

Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold. A fantasy about a girl who meets Harriet Tubman and a mysterious train in the sky. Crown, 1992.

Baby Says by John Steptoe. An ingenious story uses only baby words to describe the playful relationship between an endearing toddler and his long suffering older brother. Lothrop. 1988.

Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco. Winston, Stewart, and their "sister friend" want to buy a special gift for Miss Eula for Easter, but are falsely accused of throwing eggs at the local shopkeeper. A story of intergenerational, interracial friendship and creativity. Philomel, 1992.

Do Like Kyla by Angela Johnson. A young girl spends a winter day imitating her older sister; the book ends with a happy reversal, reflecting the girls' strong relationship. Orchard. 1990.

Everett Anderson's Friend by Lucille Clifton. At first, Everett is disappointed his new neighbor isn't a boy, but he later decides that a girl who can run and win at ball is nice to know after all. Holt.1976.

First Pink Light by Eloise Greenfield. Poignant story celebrates the riches of family life and a child's determination to greet the return of his father at dawn's first light. Black Butterfly. 1991.

The Magic Moonberry Jump Ropes by Dakari Hru. Uncle Zambezi arrives from East Africa with a pair of magic jump ropes for his nieces. Dial. 1995.

A Million Fish...More or Less by Patricia C. McKissack. An original folktale of the Louisiana bayou and a delightful yarn of exaggeration about "the one that got away." Knopf. 1992.

Mirandy and Brother Wind by Patricia McKissack. Mirandy must live up to her boastful promise that the wind will be her partner at the upcoming cakewalk. Knopf. 1988.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe. Mufaro's two beautiful daughters go before the king who is choosing a wife. Morrow, 1987.

The Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci. Blanche gains riches while her greedy sister makes fun of an old witch and is duly rewarded. Dial, 1990.

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold. Gr. K-2. Summer evenings spent atop her Harlem rooftop inspire eight-year-old Cassie Lightfoot to imagine herself flying high above the city, righting all wrongs. Crown. 1991.

What Kind of Babysitter Is This? by Dolores Johnson. An amusing tale of intergenerational friendship between Kevin and his new babysitter, a diehard baseball fan. Macmillan, 1991.

When I Am Old With You by Angela Johnson. A small child imagines a future when he will be old with his Grandaddy and they will do all their favorite things together. Orchard. 1990.


Charlie Pippin
by Candy Dawson Boyd. Gr. 5-7. For her class project Charlie studies the Vietnam War, and uncovers ghosts from her father's past that eventually bring them closer together. Macmillan. 1987.

Cousins by Virginia Hamilton. Gr. 4-6. Rebellious Cammy resents her perfect cousin, Patty Ann, until a tragedy puts things into perspective. Philomel. 1990.

Drylongso by Virginia Hamilton. Gr. 2 and up. A mythical story about a mysterious young boy named Drylongso, who appears at Lindy's midwestern farm just before a big dust storm hits. HBJ. 1992.

Just Like Martin by Ossie Davis. Gr. 4 and up. In 1963 Alabama, Stone has met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and wants to be a preacher, but his father sees nonviolence as cowardly and refuses to embrace it. Simon & Schuster. 1992.

Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World by Mildred Pitts Walter. Gr. 3-5. 10-year-old Justin jumps at the chance to visit his cowboy grandfather, where he traces his black cowboy ancestors and learns that cooking is not just "women's work." Lothrop, 1986.

Mariah Keeps Cool by Mildred Pitts Walter. Gr. 4-7. A challenging summer is ahead for a young girl as she faces sibling problems and the
upcoming all-city swim meet.

Mop, Moondance, and the Nagasaki Knights. Gr. 2­p;6. T.J., Moondance and Mop are back with their champion baseball team, trying to win a trip to Japan by coming out on top of a special tournament with visiting international teams. Delacorte, 1992.

Shortcut by Donald Crews. Gr. 2-4. On their way home, seven children find that the shortcut down the train tracks nearly leads to disaster. Greenwillow. 1992.

Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron. Six stories by a master storyteller and all-around fibber. Random House, 1981.

The Watsons Go To Birmingham -- 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. A hilarious, touching and tragic novel about civil rights and the impact of violence on one black family. Delacorte,1995.


The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural
by Patricia C. McKissack. Gr. 7 and up. Ghost stories and horror stories incorporating African American history and culture, including tales from the days of slavery and from the 20th century civil rights movement.

Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairytales, and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton. Blue Sky/Scholastic,1995.

Maizon at Blue Hill by Jacqueline Woodson. Gr. 5-7. One of five African-American students at a private girls' school, Maizon feels misplaced and lonely as she tries to fit in. Delacorte. 1992.

Mama, I Want to Sing by Vy Higginsen (with Tonya Bolden). Gr. 5 and up. Based on the off-Broadway musical, this novel tells the story of a girl who grows up singing in the church choir, but dreams of singing the music popular at the Apollo Theatre. Scholastic. 1992.

The Mouse Rap by Walter Dean Myers. Gr. 5 and up. Fourteen-year-old Mouse and his friends fall in and out of love and search for a hidden treasure from the days of Al Capone. Harper. 1990.

The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton. Gr. 6-8. An excellent anthology of 24 African-American folktales selected and retold especially for children. Knopf, 1985.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. Gr. 6-8. The first in a series of stories about an African-American family living in rural Mississippi during the Depression, told from the point of view of their eldest daughter, Cassie. Dial, 1976.

Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush by Virginia Hamilton. Gr. 6-8. When 14-year-old Tree encounters the ghost of her dead uncle, she goes back in time to relive her own past. Philomel, 1982.

These books are available at Arrowhead Library System public libraries or through interlibrary loan. Ask your librarian.

·Beloit Public Library
·Clinton Public Library
·Eager Free Public Library, Evansville
·Edgerton Public Library
·Janesville Public Library
·Milton Public Library
·Orfordville Public Library

Arrowhead Library System
Janesville, Wisconsin 53545

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